Craft Beer Pushing Lite Beer off the Shelf

Posted on March 29, 2012


Have ‘Lite’ Beers had their Day? are drinkers now choosing beers that are re-named such as Gold, Platinum’ or come in an imported bottle ? Is the new kid on the block the Craft Beer with all the new packaging, images and ‘coolness’ factor kicking the Light Beer off the Shelf?

Its no surprise really as we can read on a daily basis that the growth in Macro Lite brands are falling compared to growth in Macro Imports or ‘Craft’ brands.

An interesting article highlighted the shelf space issue with beers that currently we all have options of buying, as with the growth of any industry, it pushes and squeezes competition into a finite space. The article points out that “Light beer is ceding ground as cabernet-loving baby boomers and millennials weaned on exotic cocktails seek more complex flavors in their brews“. The view that light beer is less fattening and less calories is losing steam among drinkers, where traditional coors or budweiser drinkers are going for alternatives. The area where drinkers are choosing a new craft beer based on looks, packaging or descriptive words instead of the 30 can pack of ‘Lite’ is gaining momentum.

ShockTop BelgiumWe can see that introduction of great names for beers with design changes are affecting how consumers choose. I can remember drinking Blue Moon on my first trip to Boston years ago and loving the flavor of it, but had you told me it was owned by Coors I wouldn’t have touched it. The idea is that Tenth & Black are creating new styles for new drinkers and ultimately they have distribution with bars which will get new drinkers ordering ‘Craft Pints’.

In recessions it is quite amazing what consumers spend their money on, as I know I tend to drink less wine in restaurant but will buy a $30-40 bottle of wine without even blinking if we are having dinner at home. I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest everyone who was a Light Beer drinker is not stocking up with Gas Station beer, but choosing various options of Craft Beer that may come in a Large Bottle of new 6pack. Even if the beer is owned by Molson-Coors or Miller that are introducing variants of Craft labels into distribution supply chains.

Will this mean the demise of Light/ Lite Beer ? NO but will it impact the sales going ahead of course it will, so due to this being such a volume area for companies like ABInbev and others. They have reduced costs over the last few years and increased prices, but they are not getting the volume of drinkers that they once were pre-recession. Remember that one extra 6 pack of craft beer sold whether from a smaller brewer or larger will introduce new drinkers to ‘Craft Beer’ and that is the point of the industry to promote different beers.